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How do we cope with the housing market

 May 12, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday, May 12th.>>>>

What to do about this housing market

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


San Diego is suing more than 20 chemical companies for allegedly manufacturing and concealing the toxic nature of firefighting foams.

The city’s attorney’s office filed the lawsuit Wednesday. PFA’s have been found in San Diego area drinking water supplies, stormwater and wastewater and other natural resources.

The chemicals have been linked to some cancers, reproductive issues, developmental delays in children, and dampened immune systems.


San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero are calling for more cross-border collaboration in addressing long border wait times, cross border pollution and other bi-national issues.

Gloria was in Tijuana on Wednesday where the two mayors signed a memorandum of understanding that aims to strengthen ties between the cities.

Possible areas of collaboration include environmental protection, municipal and regional planning, economic development, emergency services and immigrant affairs.


San Diego county is seeing a late-season surge of the flu.

That’s according to county public health officials who are now reminding people to get their flu shots.

Last week 189 lab confirmed flu cases were reported in the region.

That far exceeds the 7 cases that were reported during the same week last year.

County public health officer Dr Wilma Wooten says that by this time of the season flu cases should be winding down.

Instead cases have increased and remained steady over the past few weeks.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

The cost of homes in San Diego is the highest it’s ever been. And one national home tracker has named San Diego the least affordable housing market in the country. How did things get so tough, and how are people trying to cope?

KPBS Reporter Thomas Fudge has the story.

In North Park, Jake Hueras has an apartment that costs 21 hundred dollars a month.

It’s one bedroom, one bath and 650 Square feet that he shares with his girlfriend. He was just forced out of another apartment in Normal heights and his new place is smaller and more expensive.

“About a hundred dollars more. We lost a bedroom and a bathroom. A hundred square feet. But it was the only place that had the criteria we needed.”

To make ends meet, he’s had to increase the debt on his credit card and cancel his health insurance. Jake’s story is typical in a San Diego market where rents have increased 19 percent over the past year, according to

As rents surge upwards, mortgages are doing the same. The San Diego Association of Realtors reports the median price for a detached home in San Diego was one million dollars in April. Just like local rents, that’s up 19 percent from a year ago.

Who can afford a million dollar home? San Diego realtor Stephanie Lloyd says a lot of her dual-income clients simply don’t have the money that’s required.

“If yer buying a million dollar home, typically what I’m seeing is income, either singular or combined, probably around 200,000. And with a 20 percent on-up downpayment to go with that.”

A survey by the Texas home-buying website OJO has called San Diego the least affordable metro area in the U.S. But our region is also part of a bigger trend. Economists say the pandemic lockdown led tolarge cash reserves and pent up demand for many things, including housing. They call it the “pandemic piggybank.”

Chris Salviati, an economist with says rents rose 16 percent nationwide in the past 12 months. That’s just three percentage points less than San Diego.

In our region, high demand isn’t going away. Salviati calls San Diego a “sticky” market. Despite high home prices people still don’t want to leave… and lots of people are still trying to move here.

“And the folks that are searching for apartments in San Diego, about 40 percent of them are searching from outside the metro. So the flow of folks coming from outside the metro kind of out-weighing the folks who want to leave the metro.”

Is there a way to mitigate San Diego’s housing shortage? Marco Li Mandri says there is.

He is the president of New City America, which creates urban development districts. I caught up with Li Mandri on Adams Avenue in Kensington. He says San Diego has plenty of buildable land. You just have to knock down the obsolete buildings that are sitting on it.

“I think what we did is we overbuilt in the United States in the 20th Century.”

And today the result is lots of retail and office buildings that have lost their value and could make way for housing.

“We’re here on Adams Avenue. We’re looking up and down, you see a lot of one story non-historic buildings. And the example I’ll give you is the old Demille’s restaurant that was there for years. Fifteen-thousand square foot lot, if I’m not mistaken. They just sold that. And there are going to be more than 100 apartments built there.”

Li Mandri says if the housing market is going to meet the demand, those kinds of projects need to move ahead and developers will need to build up. That means dense, multi-story housing is going to be in San Diego’s future, and we had better get used to it.

For now, San Diegans are doing their best to afford whatever they can. Jake Huertas works in construction. He says he’s worked on remodels of people’s homes, and he wonders where they find the money to do it.

“You know people who have plenty of money to do these remodels and stuff and, you know, I feel like I’m just a hard-working guy I feel like I have an uncanny work ethic and here I am, pushing 50 hours a week, and i can barely scrape by.”

Rising interest rates may lead to a cooling housing market, but for now, just scraping by will remain a reality for a lot of people.


The state of California has picked a partner to help redevelop two blocks of property in downtown San Diego. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen has more.

AB: The state chose The Michaels Organization, a large-scale developer based in New Jersey that manages more than 60,000 homes across 35 states. It's still unclear exactly what they'll build on the three acres of state-owned land, but it will include both affordable and market rate housing, plus commercial and retail space. Stephen Russell of the nonprofit San Diego Housing Federation says he'll be watching out for the details.

The number of affordable housing units is going to be absolutely critical. The depth of affordability will be critical. And then what plans they have for the operations, resident services, the quality of services that they're proposing to provide.

AB: The state's open call for ideas on the property left open the possibility of leasing it out for free to enable even more affordable housing to get built. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


COVID-19 cases seem to be on the rise again, both across the United States and here in San Diego County. In response to the nationwide uptick, the Biden administration is pushing for a new round of Congressional funding to prepare for an upcoming wave of the virus that, they say, could infect 100 million Americans by fall. Dr. Eric Topol is the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla. He spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindemon.

That was Dr. Eric Topol speaking with Midday Edition Host Jade Hindemon.


A nationwide baby formula shortage … driven by supply chain issues and recalls… is leaving some grocery aisles completely empty and parents left scrambling.

KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim checked in how the shortage is impacting San Diegans.

Megan Lenz’s three-month old daughter Stephanie has been struggling to put on weight and keep food down.

We've had to try different formulas to see what she can handle. So we finally found neutral. Megyn hypoallergenic is the only one that she can use

But now with the nationwide shortage of formula… she can’t find it in stores and when she can the price per can has shot up $5 dollars.

I'm just the shortage is scary if you can't find food for your baby.

So Lenz … who lives in Santee… turned to facebook. She was overwhelmed with the response. People from across the country helped her get the formula her baby needs.

Because of that post, I have stocked up about a month, maybe, maybe five weeks worth. But after that, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

That anxiety is something Casey Castillo..the CEO of the San Diego Food Bank … is hearing from the families that rely on them for formula, diapers and food.

This is adding an additional stressor on these families that are struggling.

On Tuesday the last shipment of formula left the Food bank.

We have never experienced this and we've never seen where we have been completely out of baby formula at both locations.

The FDA has said it's working to increase domestic production and import more formula.

Cristina Kim. KPBS News.


Coming up.... A new center for the arts in Barrio Logan. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

Barrio Logan has a new center for the arts.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez says it will promote learning and provide security for children who need it most.

The Chrysalis Center for the Arts will provide new opportunities for students at Monarch School in Barrio Logan. The school serves students experiencing homelessness.and is just a couple of blocks away from the new 6-thousand square foot center with a dance studio, theater, and art gallery.

12-year-old Yaretzi is a student who goes by Max… the artist name she gave herself.

“sometimes I do my paints crying because I want to tell somebody but I can’t…and this is the only way to help me and express myself…and this is what I’m feeling…and I feel way better because I feel like I’m telling somebody.”

The Chrysalis Center will also be available to local arts organizations. MGP KPBS News


San Diego Opera had the eagerly anticipated The Aging Magician on its schedule in March of 2020 but had to cancel the production because of COVID-19. Now it presents the West Coast premiere of this unique hybrid opera as part of its dētour Series. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview.

The Aging Magician is a multi-media operatic work that blends music, singing, video projection, and shadow puppetry to tell the story of a clockmaker named Harold who’s approaching the end of his life. Director Julian Crouch says Harold distracts himself by writing a story.

JULIAN CROUCH He's not quite sure what it is, but he's writing a story about a magician passing on his secrets to the next generation. But he sort of got a chorus that is a little bit like his inner voice.

JULIAN CROUCH It's part opera, part theater, part concert, part spectacle.

Crouch cites instrument designer Mark Stewart for contributing to the visual spectacle of the show.

JULIAN CROUCH These musical instruments are often very sculptural. So we kind of make a musical interpretation kind of Coney Island, which is also a giant musical instrument that the entire chorus play

San Diego Opera's The Aging Magician will have only three performances at the Balboa Theatre this Friday and Saturday.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

San Diego housing prices are the highest they have ever been. How did we get to now? And how do we cope? Also, COVID-19 cases are on the rise nationally and in San Diego County. We’ll bring you the latest on the surge. Plus, Barrio Logan has a new center for the arts.